Jainism has its roots spread far and wide in the whole country. Some of its gods or Teerthankars are related to the characters of Mahabharata Era as well.
There are many Digambar Jain Temples in Agra; history of some of those is parallel to the history of India.
Shouripur-Bateshwar Dham in Agra
Most important group of Digambar Jain temples in Agra is situated at Shouripur-Bateshwar Dham. It is one of the most sacred places for Jainism. Shouripur is known as Siddha Kshetra or the Place of Salvation while the Bateshwar is the Atishaya Kshetra or the Place of Miracles.
Shouripur is a very old city that was established at the shores of Yamuna River. It is the place where 22nd Teerthankar of Jain religion, Bhagwan Neminath’s Kalyanak took place.
It is also related to Supratishtha Muni as he got his supernatural knowledge or Kevalgyan here. Few other munis naming Muni Shri Dhanya, Shri Vimlasut and Muni Shri Yama attained their Salvation at this place.
The city of Shouripur is sacred for followers of Jainism as it is the Siddha Kshetra and Kalyanak Bhumi of their munis. Other teerthankars such as Bhagwan Neminath, Bhagwan Mahaveer, Bhagwan Adinath and Bhagwan Parshvanath also arrived here at different times.
Shouripur was very famous and prosperous city as mentioned in Harivansha Puran and Mahapurana. It was established by Yaduwanshi king Narpati’s brilliant son Shoor The ruler of Shouripur ‘Andhak Vrishni’ had 10 sons, eldest being ‘Samudra Vijaya’ and the youngest ‘Vasudev’. Kunti was his daughter.
Pandavas were the sons of Kunti while Krishna and Balram were sons of Vasudev. For this reason both Krishna and Balram were referred to as Shouris in olden times.
Bhagwan Neminath, the 22nd Teerthankar of Jain cult was the son of Samudra Vijaya. Acharya Lokchandra, the renowned scholar and the Guru of Acharya Prabhachandra hailed from this kshetra.
The famous work on Jain Nyaya ‘Premya Kamal Martand’ was written here by Acharya Prabhachandra.
This ancient place was excavated by famous historians General Cunningham, Carlyle and Colonel Tad in 19th century. It proved that Shouripur was a prosperous and wealthy city as lots of olden currency and gems were found here.
Up to 19th century, the place was sacred as the seat belonging to Digambar Jain Bhattarkas was here, spreading religious teachings, acquisitions and speeches.
The ancient temple slowly declined leaving only some ruins. The remnants of various Jain temples are the only symbols of history remained in Shouripur. In 1667, the ‘Adi Mandir’ was built here on the instructions of Bhattaraka Vishva Bhushan. Other temples at this place are:
Bateshwar Atishaya Kshetra
The land of Shouripur was washed away
by the floods of River Yamuna and became more ruined removing the
possibilities of visit there. To provide an alternate, Bhattaraka
Jinendra Bhushanji built a huge temple and a Dharmashala at Bateshwar.
The temple was built on a ghat, the place on the bank of river where
landing and bathing is possible. This temple was developed by the king
of Bhadavar state Raja Badan Singh in Vikram Samvat 1838. The very
artistic, 5-feet-high, black-colored idol of Bhagwan Ajitnath sitting in
Padmasana is installed here. It is said to be brought from Mahoba.
idol was installed on Monday, the seventh tithi of Vaishakh Krishna
Paksha in Vikram Samvat 1224 in its Primal state by the father of the
great warriors, ‘Aalha – Udal’ known as ‘Shravak Shrestha Jalhan’.
temple is a beautiful example of architecture of olden times as its two
stories are visible above the ground while two stories are below the
Constructed on a platform, it is the oldest temple at Shouripur. Here the main Deity is of Bhagwan Neminath sitting in Khadagasana. The idol is built of a magnificent black stone and is said to be constructed in Veer Nirvan Samvat 2480.
It is 8 feet high with a stone spire over the idol and has an artistic halo of carved stone behind the idol. There are two lions facing each other on the base. Between these there is an image of Conch shell.
Shankha Dhwaj Mandir
This Mandir is built on the second floor. There are 4 altars at the center of this temple. The idol of chief deity Bhagwan Neminath is installed in the central Altar. Two other idols believed to be constructed in 11th-12th century are also installed in the temple.
The idols of Bhagwan Chandraprabhu, Bhagwan Parshvanath and Bhagwan Vimalnath built here in Vikram Samvat 1357 are installed in the second altar of the temple. Few other ancient idols are also installed here.
This place is on the left side of Shankha Dhwaj Mandir. The ancient Tonks & Spires or umbrellas are constructed in a ground which is covered by walls from all sides.
This place is famous as Panch Mathi. The small foot images of Muni ‘Dhanya’ and Muni ‘Yama’ are installed here.
How to Reach Shouripur-Bateshwar Dham in Agra
Shouripur-Bateshwar is around 71 km from Agra Cantt
Railway Station. To reach here, one should head towards northeast
direction on Sadar Batti Road and after 300 meters, should take first
right staying on same road. Drive for 700 meters then take right turn,
going through 1st roundabout, driving straight for 1.2 km.
right on Fatehabad Road, drive for 600 meters. Continue on the road for
31 km passing Levi Strauss Signature, then go past 1st roundabout, pass
by G. K. Filling Station on the right.
Continue on the Firozabad Road
for other 2.9 km, then move to Arnota Road and drive for 9.8 km. Pass on
SH 62, drive for 17.3 km, turn left at Farera Tea Point onto 77W and
drive for 5.2 km. Reaching Bateshwar road, drive for other 2.5 km, the
destination is on the left side.
There are few other Digambar Jain temples in Agra. Some of these are listed below with their respective addresses:
Digambar Jain Temple-Rajaganj Mandi, Agra
Shri Digambar Jain Chaityalay-27/29, Nai Vijay Nagar,Agra